With more winter weather rolling across parts of the state, many motorists are reviewing their options when it comes to different types of chains and traction tires. Oregon state law allows motorists to use studded tires from Nov. 1 through March 31. Because studded tires damage highways, ODOT encourages drivers to consider using chains or non-studded traction tires.
Studless traction tires that meet Rubber Manufacturers Association standards for use in severe snow conditions carry a special symbol on the tire sidewall: a three-peaked mountain and snowflake. Research shows these tires provide better traction than studded tires on bare pavement.
Studded tire facts
• You can use studded tires in Oregon from Nov. 1 through March 31. Driving with studded tires before Nov. 1 or after March 31 is a Class C violation and carries a $190 fine.
• Research shows that studded tires are more effective than all-weather tires on icy roads, but are less effective in most other conditions because they may reduce traction between the road and the tire.
• Oregon spends more than $11 million a year fixing roads and bridges damaged by studded tires.
• When it rains, water collects in the pavement ruts caused by studded tires and creates dangerous driving conditions. In cold weather, that water can freeze and cause extra-slippery roads.
Alternatives to studded tires
Chains and chain-like devices
• Chains are more effective than studded tires and are becoming easier to use.
• Link chains may not be recommended for use on some types of vehicles; check your owner’s manual.
Other traction tires
• Traction tires, other than studded tires, provide increased traction in winter conditions.
• They work about as well as studded tires on ice, but work better than studded tires or regular tires in most other winter conditions.
• These other traction tires cause no more damage to road surfaces than regular tires.
For more information about chains and winter tire options that are best suited for your vehicle and driving conditions, check with your local tire supply store.
For additional resources on winter driving and preparedness, links to safety videos and more visit the ODOT website.
Know Before you Go: Visit the TripCheck website, Oregon’s travel information website,, for up-to-the-minute road conditions and more information on Oregon’s chain law and chain requirements. You can also get the latest in road conditions by calling 511 or 800-977-6368. Outside Oregon call 503-588-2941.